File Photo: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to reporters after a meeting of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug. 28, 2018. (Xinhua/Thai Government House)
BANGKOK, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's political parties are now free to woo votes as part of their electoral campaigns ahead of a general election scheduled for Feb. 24, 2019.
In his capacity as chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday lifted all political restrictions, imposed by the ruling military council over the last several years following the 2014 coup, to the extent that all parties can kick off their electoral campaigns by wooing votes from among constituents nationwide.
The NCPO chairman's order to waive such restrictions was declared in the Royal Gazette issued on Tuesday with immediate effect.
Prayut had earlier ordered a partial waiver to the political bans only to allow each contestant party to recruit party members, pick up electoral candidates, hold party caucuses or the party's executive board meetings, set up provincial branches of the party and make necessary preparations for the race to parliament.
But they had not been allowed to do anything which might possibly be considered by the NCPO as vote-wooing activity until Tuesday.
The political restrictions were entirely waived up on Tuesday, which marked the beginning of the enforcement of the constitution's organic law that governs the election of members of parliament and has passed a 90-days interval, according to Prayut.
It remains to be seen whether Prayut will eventually accept to be named the top candidate for post-election premier as planned by Palang Pracharath (power of people of state) Party, headed by Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana as party leader and party secretary general Sontirart Sontijirawong, who is concurrently commerce minister.
Two other ministers also concurrently hold the posts of a deputy leader and spokesman in the party respectively.